Snowboarding’s history shows many influences, such as surfing, skateboarding, snurfing, and skiing. It’s roots may even be traced back to the early 1920’s. then children built what would now be considered makeshift snowboards out of barrel staves and rode them sideways down a snowy hill. That was the beginning.
Vermont played a large part in the early days of snowboarding. It was the state in which the snurfer (snow-surfer) became the snowboard with the help of Jake Burton Carpenter and his garage workshop in Manchester, Vt. Jake had a vision: to bring snowboarding to the world. He began shaping snowboards in the mid 70’s out of wood, and fixing rubber straps on them for bindings. This vision apparently succeeded, for he is now the owner of Burton Snowboards, a forerunner in the snowboard industry. He has deeply influenced what snowboarding has become today.
Vermont hosted the first established snowboard competitions in the late 70’s and early 80’s: the National Races at Suicide Six in Pomflet, Vt. Interest in this new sport later spawned. The U.S. open was first held at Magic Mountain, now the U.S open is the most best snowboard event in the world, and is now held at Stratton Mountain Resort.
Vermont was also the first state in the nation to host what is now known as Snowboard Park. In the early 1980’s the tiny Sonnenburg Ski Hill, in Barnard Vermont opened its arms to snowboarders, letting them have free reign of a trail to build jumps and supplied them with a steady supply of hay bales and a few picnic tables to jump. This was in an era when few ski areas accepted snowboarders, and was definitely a ground breaking move. Now Snowboards Parks are commonplace at most resorts worldwide.
For snowboarding you need a snowboard and snowboard shoes of course, warm clothes, goggles. For protection you can use a helmet and wrist-and back protection.
How to learn snowboarding
Preparation – dress in comfortable, loose-fitting snow clothing. Don’t forget gloves, goggles and a hat.
Safety – wrists are very vulnerable, especially for beginners. Consider wearing a pair of wrist guards and a helmet.
Skating – with your leading (front) foot in the binding, practice “skating” by pushing yourself along with your back foot. Your back foot can push from either side of the board, so try it first in the front and then in the back to see if one is more comfortable for you. Skating is an essential skill to have for maneuvering through lift lines and getting on the chair lift.
“Getting off the Chair” – go about 5-10 feet up from the bottom of a hill and glide down to the flat with only your front foot in the binding, to simulate getting off the chair lift. As you start sliding, put your back foot on the board just in front of the back binding. Practice coming to a stop by turning to both the left and the right.
The “ falling leaf” – starting at the top of a hill, glide back and forth across it, staying on your heelside edge. Then try it on your toeside edge.
Turning – to make a turn, ease into the fall line (pointing directly down the hill) and pick up a little bit of speed. With your weight on your front food, pivot the back foot to turn.
Parallel giant slalom
The event is held on a snow- covered course shaped like a half cylinder, hence the name half pipe. It is approximately 120 m long with a 15-17% gradient. The technical skill is based on the snowboarder’s ability to jump over the sides of the rim and then land back on the side walls making six or seven acrobatic turns, called kickers, and using the whole length of the pipe. The snowboarders use the speed gained on the slope to perform acrobatic tricks, aerials and complex manoeuvres with rotations in all directions. The Half Pipe is the only Olympic speciality in which men and women compete on the same facility, alternately performing two runs.
There are five judges and each evaluates one aspect of the performance, attributing a score for standard manoeuvres without twists, the height and amplitude of the jumps and the technical merit of the performance. The top six women and ten men with the highest scores in the two qualifying runs are included in the final. The final consists of two runs and the best score in one of the two runs will determine the winner and the final classification.
Snowboarding in Italy
Italy offers some of the cheapest summer snowboarding opportunities in the whole of Europe. Although don’t expect a great deal in terms of the size and ability of the terrain available. Italy’s summer snow cover on its glaciers enables you to practise this sport all the year round. You won’t find many summer halfpipes or parks to ride, but there are snowboard camps with hits to get air from. Passo Stelvio Glacier is the highest glacier resort in Europe and not far from Bormio. Here you get the chance to ride a good park and pipe throughout May and June.